Rudzinski's San Jose State game thoughts

The 2002 Homecoming at OSU was a success. Our passing game looked sharp. Maurice rolled for a bunch of yards and a bunch of touchdowns. The defense was forcing turnovers. The tailgaters seemed to bring their "A-Game". Even the college games on the tube seemed to have huge implications. Life was good this past Saturday.

Okay, enough of that. We just turned the corner of our 13 game season. It is not a case of "let's just gut-out these last few games." Instead, we need to open an entirely new chapter. We need to set sail on a new journey. Do we really have to play Alvarez on the road, the winningest coach of all time, an angry Gopher squad led by a former Buckeye, Joe "I don't lose many games in West Lafayette" Tiller, the defending outright Big Ten Champs, and Michigan? These teams will keep getting better, and by the way, these teams don't like Ohio State very much. But the good news is we are getting better. On top of that, we don't like them very much either.

I can see how San Jose State would be scary if they were winning the turnover battle. They entered the game as the best team in the country in terms of giveaway/takeaway. That offense was actually neat to watch. They could not bully our defense, so they tried to play the game on the perimeter. That is a good philosophy if you are out-manned.

In the end, it showed why a great program tries to win with offensive balance (Miami, OSU, Oklahoma, etc.). We beat to death the saying "three things can happen when you throw the football and two of them are bad." Well, maybe it is actually five things can happen when you throw the football and four of them are bad.
1.) You can complete the pass (good).
2.) You can throw an incompletion (bad).
3.) You can throw an interception (bad).
4.) In the case of SJS, you can have your quarterback get trucked over when he is not looking and fumble (bad…Cie Grant blew him up and Kudla recovers).
5.) And finally, you can complete the pass but you now have a 170 lbs. skinny receiver carrying the ball with defenders teeing off on him (bad…all the SJS fumbles).
Don't get me wrong, passing needs to be a HUGE part of your offense. You can even lead with the pass, but it is tough to go through the course of a season and have a pass-only spread attack win every game.

You have to feel good about Michael Jenkins. Experts throw the word "project" around with certain recruits. I put Jenkins in that category a few years ago. He was 6'5" and molded like the great receivers. On the other hand, he hadn't completely grown into his frame when he walked on campus. He wasn't immediately fluid and smooth with his movements. Quick defensive backs, new pass routes, and just plain youth often frustrated a young Michael Jenkins. You could always see the potential though. Well, throw potential out the door with Jenkins now. Potential just means they are not living up to their abilities. He has lived up to all expectations the past two seasons. He has grown into his frame and completely petrifies defenders. He is blocking. He is going deep. He is leaping. Trust me, when you see opposing receivers that look like Jenkins come out the locker room, your first thought is "oh #$@&". Tall, fast, experienced, and athletic is a scary combination. When that combination includes soft hands, it is even scarier. Michael Jenkins has really come a long way at OSU. I guess those coaches know what to look for when recruiting. It is not always "who will be good next year." It is often "who will be great in 3 years."

Buckeye Leaves…
Craig Krenzel - His three incompletions were a Jenkins drop, a Vance drop and a ball thrown into B-deck to avoid a sack.

Mike Kudla - Doesn't look like a youngster to me. Even before the Will Smith injury, Kudla appeared to play like he belongs there.

Alex Stepanovich - Without a doubt, the leader of our offensive line. He is the anchor. Great game. Great leadership on the field. He really took command when he needed to.

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